'It is what it is' – Scotland boss aims subtle dig at Ryan Fraser after Newcastle United winger's withdrawal

Steve Clarke has aimed a subtle dig at Ryan Fraser following the Newcastle United winger’s withdrawal from the Scotland squad.

Friday, 12th November 2021, 9:00 am

The 27-year-old pulled out of the squad for World Cup qualifers against Moldova and Denmark with a calf problem, which conceded with former boss Eddie Howe’s arrival on Tyneside.

It is hoped Howe’s appointment as head coach at Newcastle will spark a return to form for Fraser, who has been far from impressive since joining as a free agent last year.

When asked about Fraser’s absence, Clarke said: “The best way to answer that one is to say I have a squad of players who want to be here. They’re all here so let’s talk about those boys.

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Newcastle United winger Ryan Fraser. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

"The situation with Ryan will resolve itself in time. Listen, it is what it is. This is not the time to talk about somebody who is not in the squad. We have built a really strong squad."

Clarke cited the situation surrounding Queens Park Rangers striker Lyndon Dykes: "I had to persuade Lyndon it was a bad idea to fly to Moldova.

“He phoned us up and said he wanted to fly to Moldova just to watch the game. He was prepared to get on a plane for three hours to watch the team and then fly back with the team to Edinburgh. But I managed to persuade him that he didn’t need to do that.

“It shows you the level of commitment I have got from the boys in the squad. That’s what we’re building and I’d rather talk about those people.

"That commitment is massive for us. It’s why, when you need to score a late goal, that spirit and togetherness is there.

"That’s when it shines through. That’s when you see it, when we get a result that could have gone the other way. When it’s maybe looking like it’s heading for a draw and we get the win.”

After the 2019/20 season was paused for three months due to Covid-19, Fraser opted against signing short-term contract extension at Bournemouth, despite pleas from then-manager Howe.

Fraser departed and Howe’s side were relegated to the Championship.

Howe, naturally, was left disappointed by Fraser’s decision, and much has been made about the pair’s reunion in the North East.